Jailed journalists’ letter to Angela Merkel

Sehr geehrte Frau Bundeskanzlerin Dr. Angela Merkel,

Wir sind Journalisten, die der festen Überzeugung sind, dass die Türkei ein Teil der europäischen Familie ist und deshalb eines nicht mehr fernen Tages den Status der EU Vollmitgliedschaft erlangen wird.

Wir schreiben Ihnen diese Zeilen aus dem Silivri-Gefängnis in der Türkei.
Die Meinungs- und Redefreiheit sind ein unverzichtbarer Wert unserer gemeinsamen Zivilisationsgeschichte.

Wir sind verhaftet worden, weil wir unser Recht auf Meinungsfreiheit in Anspruch genommen haben und weil wir die Informationsfreiheit der Öffentlichkeit verteidigen. Deshalb wurden wir bereits während unseres laufenden Gerichtsverfahrens in Haft genommen.
Am Wochenende treffen Sie mit dem türkischen Ministerpräsidenten zusammen.  Der Ministerpräsident und die Regierung, dessen Politik und alltägliche Praxis bekannt sind, lassen leider jede Achtung und jeden Respekt für die Meinungs- und Pressefreiheit vermissen.
Sie jedoch verhandeln mit der Türkei um eine Lösung für die Flüchtlingskrise, die herzzerreißende Ausmaße erreicht hat.
Auch wir hoffen auf die bestmögliche Lösung für alle Beteiligten.
Wir hoffen aber auch, dass die bestmögliche Lösung für die Flüchtlingskrise Sie nicht daran hindern wird, weiterhin die westlichen Werte wie Bürgerrechte, Meinungs- und Pressefreiheit hoch zu halten und sie zu verteidigen.
Unsere gemeinsamen Werte sind jedoch nur zu verteidigen, wenn wir alle zusammenstehen und solidarisch handeln.
In diesem Sinne bitten wir Sie gerade jetzt sehr eindringlich um Ihre Solidarität.
Im Namen aller in der Türkei verhafteten Journalisten
Can Dündar
Erdem Gül
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About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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